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: the fall of the house oo assad." >> thank you so much foruch for spending part of your afternoony with us here.s i would like to welcome you alle on behalf of the professor and myself. this is afessor l wesonderful s. i'm saying that dispassionately, and we're so happy you're here.r i wanted to introduce the profe professor to you. he is asch to professor of middt history at trinity university it san antonio. professor lesch is a prolific writer writer and thinker about the the middle east and what's happening in the region. it's really a treat tosy a havem here today.he h w he's written his new book n b "syria: the fall of the house ou assad" which i'm hoping you'll m all purchase and get him toill sign. he signed my copy first so he f. has met extensively with met president assad and officials lg between 2004-2011, been in the middle east, studying the middle st east, making connections andeast friendships in the middle east for a quar ater century. the r why that's important is, of course, he knows of what he knoo speaks. spe there's so many people who woule like to write about a regio
>> the u.n. envoy to syria holds talks with president bashar al- assad and hopes to find a solution to end the violence. hello. the other top stories from al jazeera -- another insider attack in afghanistan. the u.s. contractor is killed. plus -- india's prime minister appeals for calm after a second day of violent street protests. plus, bringing life to the desert. qatar brings ca hopes for those struggling to grow their own food. syria's president bashar al- assad says his government will do whatever it can to end the crisis in syria. his comments on state tv followed a meeting of the u.n. peace envoy to syria lakdar brahimi. he also says he is cooperating with lakdar brahimi, who is on a two-day visit. it coincides with a missile strike. scores of civilians killed in the attack. in the northern city of aleppo rebel fighters say they captured a military base. russia's foreign minister says he received guarantees from president assad he will not use chemical weapons against rebels. >> i met president assad and we exchanged views on the next steps that can be taken to move forward.
to the capital by brahimi. we met with assad but the outcome of the meeting remains unclear. >> yet another attempt by syria's envoy to find way to end the war. brahimi met assad in damascus. it is not clear if he has a concrete plan but brahimi is trying to get an agreement on a transitional government. >> i've met president assad and we ex-changed views on the next steps to be taken to move forward. we also discussed the steps that i see can be taken to help the people come out of this crisis. >> any political solution that would save the regime is unacceptable. the political solution that is acceptable puts an end to killing of syrians. any solution that does not begin with assad stepping down is rejected and we will oppose it. >> he has no intention of stepping down. but he reportedly told brahimi that he would be willing to cooperate to find solution, but if you ask the opposition, they believe it is the assad government, which has been weakened, it is the assad government, which is on the defensive and it is state that wants a negotiated settlement. the syrian government is just as co
syria's president assad might play -- on that brahimi said nothing. syria's opposition has already dismissed his suggestions. hope for a rapid end to the bloodshed seems optimistic. >> syria will be the special focus later this half hour. >> we will have a special report from the turkish-syrian border. in other news, u.s. president barack obama has broken off his christmas vacation to resume talks on the so-called fiscal cliff, taxes and spending cuts unless democrats and republicans reach a deal by new year's eve. >> nearly all the major players in those negotiations are starting to agree on one thing, and that is that a deal is virtually impossible by that deadline. senior officials say there is little hope of a grand bargain to shave trillions of dollars off of america's mountain of debt. >> applause for the bell at the start of the trading day is a daily ritual at the new york stock exchange, despite the enthusiasm, traders are keeping an anxious eye on share prices. the fiscal cliff is on everyone's mind. u.s. treasury secretary timothy geithner has warned that his department
. it is a requirement for a run to continued to back assad. the second question, this is an extremely complicated question that i am in the process of writing a longer report on. what i will say is that in my initial assessments seem to mirror what a lot of people have said with 1/3-1/4 markets far as the number of forces in the regime or a battle they are able to employ. basically for the elite units, they can afford all of their brigades and the can hobble together -- airline divisions, they can cobble together one good for grade after all the divisions that they have it. when the contrast to do the things they wanted them to do. i think you take a third of what the assad has and that is about right. at attrition to that. the regime stopped reporting their casualty's at the beginning of july when they really started going up. it is hard to have a clear connection across the table. estimates are high. especially if you consider the number killed. >> what about suni muslims? do we have a sense of how many defections there have been from a group? >> will not try to make an estimate of how many sun
. see you tomorrow. ♪ ♪ >> doug: the violence in syria reaches fever pitch as assad deals with a major defection. this is "special report." ♪ ♪ >> doug: good evening. i'm doug mckelway in for bret baier. christmas did not bring peace to syria. death toll rises each day with the estimates as high as 4,000 lives lost. president bashar assad struggled to hold on to power, the regime is still dealing with a major defection by a top general. leland vittert has the developments. >> reporter: continues to use helicopter and fighter jets at will. rebels now have the momentum. the amateur video confirmed shows the rebels fighting for back of the pickup trucks and turned in to machine gun carriers and they tighten it on the base. the less equip rebels fighting for whatever fire power they can find or build. this is a school that has been taken over by the assad thugs explained this rebel. before launching a homemade rocket from nearby building. other videos from around the country show free syrian army fighters using the same crude weapon. however, turning citizens to seasonals with little o
of the -- abetter of the assad regime. it put sanctions on serbia for doing all these horrendous things, including supporting terrorism, for occupying lebanon, and other things. assad is a bad guy. his father was a bad guy. the assad dictatorship has ruled for 40 years. the have been ruthless in their power. ally in then's main region. i think it would be a blow to iran if the regime were to fall. we are very cautious. we do not want to get involved in any more wars. think it is enough. i do think there are a lot of things we could be and should be doing to help the opposition and syria. >> such as? >> rough finally recognizing the opposition. we're finally helping to arm the opposition. we do not want u.s. troops on the ground. but i do think it is very important and that we work in -- collaboration?e helpin >> we're helping to arm the opposition? >> we're working with our allies to make sure that the allies except arms. -- get arms. it cannot be a blank check. unfortunately, some of the rebels have been infiltrated by al qaeda. i think assad should leave. his days are numbered. he either signs a
power and the russians aren't interested in plan that leaves assad in power. the russian speak of a bloody chaos that could occur, the rebels are making significant gains, gaining momentum. one rebel fighter says we're going to fight all the way to bashar al-assad palace. you have the priors for both sides, sectarian civil war and proxy war in the sense russia and iran are protecting assad and the other gulf states are supporting the rebels that are fighting fiercely. as long as they're willing to keep fighting, proxies supply them with money, political cover and weapons, so it's difficult to see how a peaceful solution will happen while everybody on the sidelines is pouring money in to continue the war. >> neil: the. >> the civil war in syria contributing to a growing refugee crisis. >> crisis is putting it lightly. there's 150,000 refugees in turkey. that number is growing expo tensionally. not only are people flowing across the border into turkey and jordan. thousands a day are trying to flee their homes and flee this violence. these people have to be fed, closed and during
defects to the rebels claiming the assad regime is using chemical weapons. has the u.s.'s so-called red line for intervention been crossed? more "money" is coming up. you can bank on it. ♪ adam: drivers have something to be cheerful about this holiday season. gas costs are guzzling less and less of your money. prices have been tumbling and at their lowest level in a year according to the latest lundberg survey but some experts are warning the good times could be coming to an end. joining me with more what could happen in the new year, oscar carbone, welcome back to medical list seas program. i'm filling in for her. i will challenge you here. six months ago we were creaming $5 gasoline and it never happened. so what do you think? are gas prices keeping going down or i think you believe gas prices are going up? >> there are two schools of thought. first gasoline prices have been cheap lately over the past few weeks. we had a huge build-up in stocks, gasoline stocks. we had the price of gas come down a little bit but what you will find i'm a very technical trader and the charts tell us s
general decided to defect to join the uprising against the sir ran president assad. the head of the military police appeared in a video aired on middle eastern news saying he's joining, quote, the people's revolution because, quoting again, the army derailed from the basic mission of protecting people and has become a gang for killing and destruction. this could be one of the most senior military defections in the nearly two-year long civil war that activists say killed more than 40,000 people but it has not stopped the syrian government from attacking its own men, women, and children. a human rights group reports the regime shelled a bakery and killed 20 people, including at least eight children. we cannot independently confirm that. we're joined by a journalist who specializes on middle east affairs. this is a significant defection, lisa, and it appears from the you don't see that you have bashar al-assad losing his grip on power. >> absolutely. this is one of the most significant diminishing of power for the bashar al-assad regime. we've seen the military be a full support
for the middle list -- for the middle east here at cnp. we will discuss what is in store for the post-assad syria. mark twain once said that news of my death has been greatly exaggerated. since the spring of 2011, that was probably the case for the assad regime of syria. but in the last couple of months, we have seen things changing. we see robling territory, not just attacking and retreating, but actually holding ground. we have seen the russians equivocating on their support for the assad regime. and we have even seen regime insiders, of the syrian vice- president saying yesterday that the regime cannot win militarily. so the end may finally near for the assad regime, but many questions remain. what would a post-assad government look like? would it be tolerant of the many minority groups in syria? despite the fall of the regime, it has been very tolerant of minorities, except for the kurds. and there's a lot of fear among minorities about what will take place when the assad regime falls. and what happens to the syrian state as a whole? will it break apart? this is not beyond the realm of possib
action against bashar al-assad. russia invited the head of the movement to russia for peace talks. today the opposition leader said he won't go. and he demanded an apology from russia for supporting president assad. leland vitter, why won't the rebels step down? >> trace, simply put, the rebels don't view russia as an honest broker. he'd been supporting assad two years. the rebels believe time is on their side. if you look at the latest video that's coming out of syria, a rebel army is better organized, better armed, better equipped, they've taken areas in the north and are tightened the noose on assad's power basis, the cities in the central part of the country like the capital of damascus. they also believe they can fight all the way to pushing president assad out of power. that may be what the russians are most worried about. russians have a key naval base in the city of tartoose and may are worried if rebels come in, they'll lose any influence inside of syria and are starting to beginning the process of hedging bets against assad and see if they can make inroads with the rebels. >> t
for weeks laying siege before making the final push tkafrplt thpush today. the regime of bashar al-assad has losing control of the territory in the pass few months. >> many u.s. servicemen are expressing a desire to be with their families. for now they have each other and a pretty nice spread to boot. >> i wish i could be home with family and friends but all the people are so cool. >> this is a time where everyone gets together and shares good food, and laughter, and it's a good time of year. i certainly would like to westbound my family at home but we're serving here in afghanistan for a good cause so i'm happy to be there. >> no soldier left behind. nato forces are due to withdraw from the country on 2014, they are speeding up the efforts to train the afghan military units before they pull out. >> it looks like george h.w. bush will be spending his christmas in the hospital. he has been undergoing treatment for a bronchitis-like cough since november. doctors are cautiously optimistic that president bush's son, former president george w. bush has been among the visitors at the hospital. no
saying they will discuss putting down the weapons when bashar assad leaves power. are you are russia long supported assad with weapons and host to russia only foreign naval base in the syrian city of tarqtus. with assad's army playing defense, the russian peace plan appears to be an attempt to hedge their bet on assad making the inroads with the rebels. that will be hard. as rebel video uploaded to youtube show unexploded russian made bombs littering the syrian cities. this is a bomb fired on civilians in aleppo explains a rebel fighter with the russian writing clearly visible on the weapon's fin. most bomb, though, explode, like this one caught on amateur video yesterday. nearly every day they post video of recruit joining the fight. the flag visible above the rocket propelled grenade and machine gun. jihadists are often the best ware warriors. recent reports show they lay siege to military north. battle led by the hardcore islamist fighters. russia pith from the staunch ally of the syrian regime to attempted peace broker lanelly a distinction without a difference. assad has unwavering s
government. both the assad regime and the opposition rejected it because it would involve the two sides sharing power. now they want to revive the plan but is it desirable? >> the reason simply because assad once he begins to loosen the absolute control of he has of everybody around him in the military he is severely weakened and very vulnerable to being killed even by the people around him. so he knows that in the back of his mind. it is all or nothing proposition for him similar to saddam hussein and qaddafi. even the rebels themselves. they have lost 40,000 in this fight and they're not about to share power with anybody. particularly the assad government. i mean these are people they have been fighting now for almost two years. patti ann: yeah. >> so it's not in the cards. patti ann: yeah. and the plan is vague when it comes to assad specifically during that summer meeting in geneva. there was a push to call specifically for assad's ouster but russia opposed that. and as you say, assad is not going to go quietly. russia though very involved. how important is russia's role in all of t
the syria president bashar assad. russia someone of syria's last allies and has rejected all united nations efforts to take action against the aassad. leland vittert with the news live from our middle east bureau. leland, why why don't the rebels want to negotiate? >> quite frankly, right now, harris, they don't have to. time is is on their side. momentum son their side. they are beginning to tighten the noose on president assad. especially around his capital damascus. secondly the rebels don't really believe the russians. they don't trust them as honest brokers and perhaps that's with good reason. rebel videos uploaded to youtube show russian made bombs uploaded. this is a boom fired on cities aleppo with the russian writing clearly visible on the weapon's fenn. most bombs though explode like this one caught on amateur video yesterday as it was dropped from a low-flying russian-made meg. russia has long supported assad with weapons and protected diplomatically as key ally and hope to russian's only foreign rebel naval base. with assad's army now playing defense, the russian peace plan appe
with high government level officials about syrian president bashir al assad. he's been involved in a nearly two-year civil war that has seen the death of nearly 40,000 people. bring in a senior fellow at the washington institute for middle east policy. thanks for being with us. we appreciate it. let's talk about president bashar al assad's options even if he did, let's say, want to make it out hastily by syria. by some accounts i understand he wouldn't even be able to go. why is that? >> well, at this point, president assad has murdered so many of his own people, that it's difficult for him to stay within the country, even in the homeland of his sect, on the syrian coast. or for other countries to accept him, because they realize that in a post-assad syria, a more democratic one, that the syrian people are going to be very angry at whatever country holds president assad. and then, of course, there's the issue of his own personal security. you can just end up with a bullet in the back of his head, and that's why many believe he'll simply go off to tehran, to syria's main alley. >> so they be
about the regime and president assad because he is now joining the rebels. this is may be why the russians are starting to think about talking to people. there are report that is the syrian deputy foreign minister now in moscow for talks possibly trying to negotiate some kind of settlement, some kind of transition. how that would look where it would be anrd early transition rather than this civil war pushing out what is left with the regime whether that would be okay with the syrian rebels is left to be seen. the number one thing to watch is russia but the wildcard here is iran. they have been key to their support of president assad, sending him weapons, even men and members of the revolutionary guard to help fight and lead syrian soldiers in this civil war. if russia goes by the side and tries to negotiate a settlement you look to iran and does iran continue to push president assad, continue to support him, or, does iran back down? that is what we'll actually see some change there on the ground in syria, jamie. jamie: i think you hit it on the head because clearly iran is med
until sunday. that is after making very little progress in talks with president assad, and with some members of the opposition. >> meanwhile, more lives have been lost. opposition activists say more than 30 people were killed across the country on christmas day, but the syrian army accused of bombing yet another bakery, this time in the heart of the country. >> this amateur footage is said to show the destruction at a bakery. the man seen here blames president assad for the attack, calling it another massacre. opposition activists say a government warplane fired on civilians while they were waiting to buy bread. at least 15 people were reported killed. the fighting continues to rage in other parts of the country. in the northern province of aleppo, rebels said they have shifted their strategy. they have been surrounding military bases and airports loyal to the regime, but the army has kept up the pressure. this unverified video is said to show a government attack on a suburb of damascus. it is relatively calm in the capital itself, but for the city's christian community, there is lit
, meanwhile, u.n. peace envoy brahimi arrived today for more talks with president assad. in his attempt to remain in power, assad has cultivated the support of minority groups athin his ethically divided country. elizabeth palmer saw that policy at work during a recent visit to the southern town of swada. >> reporter: conflict has engulfed syria over the past months from one end of the country to the other. but so far it barely touched this town in southern syria near the border with jordan. the people who live here are a religious group that has allied itself with president assad. good afternoon. when we arrived it in town to meet the governor, syrian state media was waiting for us. the regime is anxious to showcase this community full of official supporters willing to reinforce the party line, that the violence in syria is not a civil war but a terrorist campaign by foreign-backed extremists. so are you afraid they'll come here to your city. "of course we're afraid," the governor told me. "if the countries who support al qaeda and the jihadies don't stop, the conflict will come here."
assad in this conflict. they don't really want to deal with the russians, hence turning down the invitation. the rebels now think time is on their side. the momentum is on the battlefield has shifted. for so long the rebels were outgunned and outmaneuvered. they hold major parts of northern part of the syria and major population centers in the center of the country that president assad up till now had control. one rebel fighter said we'll fight all the way to president assad's palace. the rebels don't see a reason to negotiate while president assad is in power. the while the offer from the russians may not be so significant is the fact they're making it is significant. russia has a very critical port along the syrian course along the mediterranean the port of tartuse. russia is trying very hard to keep tear influence inside syria and may be trying to play both sides of the coin here. they want to keep assad so they have influence with him and to hedge their bet to gain as much influence with the syrian rebels so if the rebels win they get to keep the port which is their only
to figure out a way to at least put their toe in the water, figuring a way to move president assad out. it doesn't appear at least that the russians have any altruistic values in it operation than they're likely to save their own influence inside syria than let jihadists or something take over that they can't talk to considering how serious russia and syria have been as allies the last couple years. look what is going on the ground. a general in charge of the military defense group, the military police there inside of afghanistan, inside of syria, pardon me, he just redecked over to turkey and is joining the rebels. this is the most serious high-ranking defects we've seen in a while. that shows another part of the momentum turning toward the rebels, away from the government who are becoming increasingly isolated inside of their cities, unable to project power. the army we heard is running out of supplies, though russia is still resupplying them as of now. but the rebels are becoming increasingly successful with their attacks. the big wildcard if russia tries to figure out a way to nego
that if some point* russia will abandon assad the rebels think russia will lose all influence which is what they do not want to do. then there would be a transitional government, of constitution, the election for right now it does not seem they will take any part of the deal. the human toll is astronomical refugees growing exponentially. 150,000 across the border in turkey. also jordan mostly women and children. in the long term what will we do with these people on top of those who have lost loved ones? tracy: humanitarian crisis. will we finally see president assad go quietly? a christmas wish for peace and syria. with us we have volleyed carries you know, this better than anyone. starting with egypt president morsi completes a referendum you say it is the totalitarian it is long state? >> and a referendum without democracy moving forward but without acting as a democratic president in egypt despite the fall of dictator it is established by president marcy most of symbols -- societe they all oppose morsi so it does not look like in 2013 we will see a more democratic egypt. tracy: then wha
. >>> in syria the military police chief has defected from president assad's government. this video shows a man identified as the official. i want you to take a listen. >> translator: i announce my defection from the regime and joining the peoples revolution because the syrian military has strayed from the core mission in protecting the homeland to become nothing but an armed gangs that kill and destroy cities and villages carrying out massacres that came out demanding freedom and dignity. >> pretty strong words. this would be one of the highest level defections in the 21 months they've been fighting. the prime minister and general were close to al assad and they also left the regime in recent months. first of all, tell us, this guy, i mean he essentially says they're thugs going after their own people. this seems pretty significant. >> reporter: well, that's right. he's identified on this tape as the general. aside from the video, we spoke with officials from the free syrian army today. they confirmed to us and helped this man escape syria and he's now in turkey. they say it's significant beca
to back in jeune. but, of course, getting agreement if there fr. the assad side and the rebels the and the government, that's a tall order. he's an experienced negotiator. there seems to be some momentum with a flurry of talks and shuttle-type dip ploemmy but he still said and lamented syria is deteriorating rapidly. and as he said there's no u.s./russian plan. there may be discussions on options. can will there a transitional government formed and then elections but we're still not at that stage yet, suzanne. >> do we think he's bringing anything to the table that kofi annan did not who failed in brings these sides together? >> yes. and in failed, it may be a matter of timing. certainly the matter of violence has an eastbound. 40,000 report lid dead. brahimi has not had that success either but he's plugging away. he's been the man in the field from the u.n. from haiti to yemen. he's not going to give up at the moment, but the key is russia perhaps may be pulling slightly away from president assad, wa wanting to get something resolved but moments ago it was said that the plan t
assad and his regime would result to utilizing those weapons. we should add, though, that the regime said on many occasions that they don't have chemical weapons. they said if they did, they would never utilize those weapons against their own population. it is, however, still very much a concern. world powers telling indirectly and directly h lly that he shou no means consider using these weapons. we heard from past officials that they believe they've seen intelligence that syria might be mixing chemicals as a way to, as a precursor to start making nerve agents and they haven't seen anything to suggest that they'll utilize this any time soon. >> how much pressure do you think was applied on syria to do this. is russia trying in a way to rule out one more altogether in favor of foreign intervention? >> oh, absolutely. russia does not want to see foreign intervention. they think if they can convince to not use these weapons and convince the international community that the russia regime is not going to use these weapons and safe guard these weapons and that would take pressure away fro
they were in necessary to get a referendum on the constitution. >> in syria, president assad's commander says he was defecting and joining the open sismgs he was one of the most senior members of the inner circle saying he defected because the army had been turned into a gang to kill and destroy during the 20 month uprising against president assad. >>"Áq russia's parliament approved a measure to ban americans from adopting russian children. the bill is a resfons a new u.s. law calling for sanctions against russians found to have violated human rights. official says 46 children about to be adopted by american citizens will stay in russia if this bill is signed. >> nelson mandela is back home. the 94-year-old had been in the hospital since december 8th diagnosed with a lung inzpex had a procedure to remove gall stones a spokesman says he will receive more care in his home until he fully recovers. >> officials in newtown, connecticut have come up with mj novel idea for what to do with all of the momentos sent po-to-pay tribute to the victims of the shooting. display will stay at the memori
president bashar al assad. >>> and an historic drought in america's midwest is threatening navigation and commerce of the mississippi river. sharply lower water levels and ice that is slowing water flow could disrupt critical barge traffic. contractors are working to remove rock formations in an effort to maintain a deep channel. >>> and america's population growth is slowing down. the government says it's due to lower birth rates during the economic recession and lower immigration numbers. as we start the new year, there will be 315 million people in the united states. the population, though, has grown less than .75% since 2010. so a slower rate of growth. still, 315 million people is -- >> seems like enough people in some places, that's for sure. thanks, lisa. >>> hopes have been crushed and families in the making ripped apart. a new law bans americans from adopting russian children. ng tom about that tiramisu. what a night, huh? but, um, can the test drive be over now? head back to the dealership? [ male announcer ] it's practically yours. but we still need your signature. volkswag
. take those off the table, that leaves covert action. assad is already doing it, the computer virus, assad killing iranian scientists, i think you'll see more of that. my theory is obama looks tired, not because of the campaign, but covert action on iran probably to get the israelis to cool off, but that that is where all this is going, and it takes a pretty steady hand at the helm to oversee intelligence. it's tough. it's problematic. back there. >> as congress deals with sequestering, particularly, with respect to defense policy and defense spending, what lessons can be applied from the way eisenhower? >> i wish eisenhower was around to deal with congress today because he believed in compromise. he was in his own party, opposition on the far right, but he dealt with that partly getting along with southern democrats, and he got along with the committee chairman, able to talk to him, and all the kind of comedy that existed in his day just doesn't exist today. i mean, when bob taft gave ike a tough time, blowing up at him at a meeting, ike took him golfing, and they became buddies. w
for a similar instance to happen if and when assad falls in syria? >> it depends on whether we assist or not. the syrian people are not only fighting against assad, but are angry against the united states. people talk about how the syrian people do not understand why we'll will not help them, and they are anchored and embittered. that will dictate a lot of their attitude and our involvement with syria after assad goes. that will be dictated what happens in syria whether they believe we have been of assistance to them or not pick in libya, but they believe we assisted them or showed that appreciation. meanwhile, we took a hike with a light footprint and let all these things develop. i think it depends if we ever have the moral courage, which we are clearly lacking, and assisting the syrian people throw off the yoke of this brutal dictator. we hear again there are now cluster bombs being used. scud missiles. i ask the question that i asked secretary panetta well over a year ago, when about 7000 had been killed -- how many have to die before we're willing to intervene? how many have to die befo
out the assad regime. now the russians say they are willing to meet with the syrian opposition. it could open the door for real u.n. action on the ground, action that could mean american involvement. we've got more details in a live report in just a minute. >>> but also, russia's president formally saying no to americans who want to adopt russian children. it is a heartbreaking development for hundreds of americans who are trying to adopt children from russian orphana orphanages. that is happening right now. president vladimir putin signed the adoption ban today. sadly, more than 50 americans who were in the final stages of adopting russian children, they are not going to be able to. and while those families certainly hoping that they're going to allow these adoptions to go through, the country's child rights commissioner says that those kids are going to stay in russia. so why are the russians doing this? the ban is considered a payback of sorts for an american law that was passed two weeks ago. that law puts financial restrictions on russians accused of human rights violation
. it doesn't look like there's any budging from either side. president assad still says that he is going to stay on and continue to fight there inside syria. the rebels say they will accept nothing short than the regime falling, all this amid the rebels continuing to make more and more advances, continuing to close the noose, if you will, on the battlefield especially around president assad's stronghold there in the capital of damascus. russia, though, is continuing to protect syrian president bashar al assad. obviously, that is the transitional plan that something along the lines of what the rebels would endorse would have assad leaf in the beginning -- leave in the beginning. this june peace plan put forth out of geneva calls for a transitional government, a new constitution and then elections. i don't think there's anybody that has much of a hope of that happening. the only thing that may change the russians' minds is they look at a chance the regime in syria is going to totally collapse meaning russia would lose all of its influence in what was one of its strongest allies around the
, a warning to syrian president bashar al- assad to cease the air strikes and fighting against syrian rubbles that has led into turkish territory. we cannot spend a lot of time worrying about whether that pisses off syria, secretary panetta said later. he said he invited kim jong-un for dinner, he served him a glass of wine and tried to find out how he thinks. he is clearly a complex man. his accomplishments over 74 years span two branches of government, education, and a little bit of farm labor on his california ranch. before taking office as the 23rd secretary of defense, secretary panetta served more than two years as cia director. after three years, chief of staff to president clinton. he and his wife cut directed the leon and sylvia and the institute at cal state university at monterey bay. to promote public service. he served eight terms in congress. rising to chairman of the house budget committee in 1989. then president clinton's director of the office of management and budget to replaced by me in welcoming to the national press club secretary defense leon panetta. [applause] >> thank
keep watching moscow. as the russians pull away from assad and the syrians, that will be an indicator of how long these guys have to last. 20 # 13 will be the end game. we have to know what comes afterward. we'll watch what happens. >> want to do another paper? >> you want me to do it? >> no, go ahead. >> "the cedar rapids gazette." new numbers show a disappointing holiday sales season with retail growth up less than 1% from last year. some analysts are calling it the worst for retailers since the financial crisis. stores across the country are hoping for a sales bounce after christmas and are doing pretty much anything they can to bring shoppers back into stores because that's america. >>> finally, there is an outrage in new york state after a local newspaper posted on its website the addresses and names of all people who have handgun permits in westchester and rockland counties. the paper's editor said while they new the database would be controversial, quote, sharing as much information as we could about gun ownership in our area was important in the aftermath of the newtown shooti
. we'll tell you who it is and what it could mean for president bashar al-assad coming up. gregg: a surfer fighting off a shark after having part of his hand literally ripped off. we'll tell you how he managed to save his own life and how his friends helped to save him as well. >> they did a marvelous job as well hmm, it says here that cheerios helps lower cholesterol as part of a heart healthy diet. that's true. ...but you still have to go to the gym. ♪ the one and only, cheerios gregg: ♪ dominic the donkey ♪. gregg: it is not at sight you see every day. dominic the donkey going for a stroll in indianapolis of all places. giving a cop a tough time trying to catch her. galloping around what appears to be a parking lot. >> she doesn't seem like she is bothering too many people. we keep getting calls about her. we need to get close to her. >> you will not get that close to her. i tried three days. she is wild. first time she got loose. when she get loose she enjoy her freedom and doesn't want to be caught. gregg: there is so much i can say about that. the animal now named sai
assad falls in syria? >> it depends on whether we assist or not. the syrian people are not only fighting against assad, but are angry against the united states. people talk about how the syrian people do not understand why we'll will not help them, and they are anchored and embittered. -- angered and embittered. that will dictate a lot of their attitude and our involvement with syria after assad goes. that will be dictated what happens in syria whether they believe we have been of assistance to them or not pick in libya, but they believe we assisted them or showed that appreciation. meanwhile, we took a hike with a light footprint and let all these things develop. i think it depends if we ever have the moral courage, which we are clearly lacking, and assisting the syrian people throw off the yoke of this brutal dictator. we hear again there are now cluster bombs being used. scud missiles. i ask the question that i asked secretary panetta well over a year ago, when about 7000 had been killed -- how many have to die before we're willing to intervene? how many have to die before we will est
was a member of a key alawite family closely tied to the assad regime. i think the challenge really is trying to figure out where the extended family network stops and where the broader alawite community begins. that is not easy. assad, the father and the sun has inherited this. they have been a pretty remarkable job incorporating all of the different elements of the alawite community and making sure there are included in the system. certainly they are facing a fall from status, or at least a perceived fall from status. the question is how much are they facing an existential threat to them? that is something the assad has been effective at convincing the alawite population they're facing an existential threat. you could make the argument that some of the regime's key violence was an effort to in some ways radicalize the opposition to make this point clear to the alawite community that they need to rally around the raceme. i would. in particular to the first car bombs that went off a denture damascus. at the time they i didn't predict they denied it was them. at the time i dismissed the claim.
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